ST. LOUIS, Sept. 16, 2009 — A Boeing [NYSE: BA] Harpoon Block II missile equipped with a redesigned Guidance Control Unit (GCU) flew for the first time in a test conducted on Sept. 10. It was launched from the USS Princeton off the coast of California and scored a direct hit on a land-based target on San Nicolas Island, Calif.
The new GCU, which controls most of the missile’s functions, incorporates a Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM) Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver to improve GPS security. In addition, the GCU resolves obsolescence issues and can accommodate possible future implementation of a data link for network centric operations.
“The implementation of the new GCU reinforces Boeing’s vision for Harpoon’s long-term viability,” said Jim Young, Boeing Harpoon/SLAM ER Weapons program manager. “Boeing’s investment in this technology eliminates obsolescence and will give Harpoon customers a weapon system with the flexibility to upgrade to meet current and future needs.”
Boeing began developing the new GCU in 2007 to provide a common guidance system for Block II and future versions of the Harpoon missile. All new Harpoon missiles will incorporate the redesigned GCU. Boeing has delivered more than 7,100 Harpoon missiles to the United States and 28 allied partners.
Harpoon Block II executes both anti-ship and land-strike missions. The 500-pound blast fragmentation warhead delivers lethal firepower against a variety of surface and land-based targets, including ships at sea, coastal defense sites, surface-to-air missile sites, exposed aircraft, port/industrial facilities and ships in port.